Getting Real With Tyra Banks

September 10, 2009 at 11:54 am 3 comments

 

Confession time: I’m a closet Tyra Banks fan. Why wouldn’t I be? She’s beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious. She’s the physical embodiment of the phrase “more than a pretty face.” Tyra has proven that she can pretty much do it all and look fabulous while doing it. 
Maybe that’s why I found myself so frustrated with the fifth season premiere episode of her self-titled talk show. Tyra’s <a href=”http://www.afrobella.com/2009/09/09/tyra-banks-real-hair-dismay/”>”Real Hair Day” left me in dismay</a>. All because of semantics. 

 

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Confession time: I’m a closet Tyra Banks fan. Why wouldn’t I be? She’s beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious. She’s the physical embodiment of the phrase “more than a pretty face.” Tyra has proven that she can pretty much do it all and look fabulous while doing it. 

Maybe that’s why I found myself so frustrated with the fifth season premiere episode of her self-titled talk show. Tyra’s “Real Hair Day” left me in dismay. All because of semantics. You see, when Tyra announced she’d be sporting her real hair on her program, I conflated “real” with “natural.” And “natural,” I assumed would mean Tyra’d be rocking an unaltered hair texture. Which, from all appearances, she wasn’t. 

I suppose I shouldn’t nitpick. I shouldn’t be disappointed. As Angela Bronner Helm indicated on BVHairTalk.com, this is a huge step for Ty Ty. The unabashed queen of lacefront wigs exposing her own tresses is a big deal! To expect more would be ridiculous:

Tyra used the word “real” because her hair is definitely chemically enhanced. Now, you can’t expect Tyra to come out with no weave AND an Afro, right?

Honestly, the way the show was being hyped, I kinda did. 

I held out hope throughout the episode: when Tyra appeared with her hair slick straight and soaking wet I had a sinking feeling but still hoped she would begin to address the issues behind black women and hair. I hoped she’d at least explain — “oh, by the by, I use a relaxer to achieve this texture,” or “I’ve had that Brazilian straightening,” or said something to give context to her hair’s appearance. 

But instead, she stuck closely to a self-congratulatory script about weaves and extensions, and proceeded to have her hairdresser blow out her hair on television. 

Often on ethnically diverse message boards whenever black women’s hair comes up, I notice readers of other ethnicities questioning why. “What’s the problem? It’s just hair!” Or, “my hair’s curly too — what’s the big deal?” For many women of color, it’s a bigger deal than you may assume. For some of us, it can never be “just hair.”

The complicated issues behind black women and hair date back to the days when the color of your skin and the texture of your hair determined the labor you had to do, and your proximity to the plantation house. For centuries, women of color have resorted to chemical means to alter their kinky, coily hair into a semblance of artificial straightness. I had hoped that Tyra would at least address that, or feature an array of guests with varied hair textures and lengths. Why not feature a woman with an afro? Or with really short hair? Alas, that wasn’t to be. Not this episode.

But I’m not gonna give up on Tyra, not just yet. There’s always next season.

Entry filed under: Truth in Beauty. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Quinn Smith  |  September 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I felt similar dismay when I turned to Tyra on Tuesday. I do not normally watch the show but was intrigued by the idea of seeing her “real” hair. I am African American, and as I have never worn a wig or weave (I’ve never even had a relaxer), I am completely obsessed with discovering what’s being hidden underneath said devices. And like you I was mildly disappointed. Perhaps if she had not so hyped the initiative; maybe just appearing on the show with her “real” hair and then discussed the impetus behind it, maybe then it would have been more…enlightened.

    Reply
  • 2. flygyrl72  |  September 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I’m not surprised at all. She tried to raise a good topic, but she’s not even the right person to address this issue. I wish she’d have left it alone.

    I do admire her on a professional level & respect everything she’s accomplished.

    Because her whole look isn’t only “Hollywood”, it borders on RuPaul. Very artificial & fake looking. She’s over the top, too much make-up, too many tracks. A black Fembot or a drag queen. A total contradiction to what she says she stands for in regards to trying to convey the message to young women about how important it is to feel positive about themselves, accepting themselves as they are, etc.

    I feel that she needs to walk the walk a bit more besides just talking the talk. Cause it’s not always matching up.

    Reply
  • 3. feemysedNadia  |  February 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

    His skin—and hers—had already sprouted beads of oily lubrication to ease the grinding of bodies. Salin told me that he was awake, but hes not come out of his suite. Their corner of the garden, right under the balcony of Nialdlyes suite, was relatively quiet. He really was afraid. She wanted to lash out, but she was having trouble finding a focus. When theyd arrived, the rock before her had been solid and smooth. Im looking forward to seeing the spell myself. She curled her fingers and found that core of sensation. Brevin had called them teasing on more than one occasion. Nialdlye startled, her green eyes sparking. What more do you want me to say? I was beginning to wonder if youd lost your mind. He heaved an overly done martyred sigh. He stroked gentle fingertips along her jaw. Her pussy wept, neglected, but she wouldnt have stopped him for anything. It didnt look like any of the stone or woodcarved trees. He tilted his face back up toward her. My infertility is mine alone, due to my time between realms. Youd allow me to breed with another man? He wrapped strong arms about her waist, crushing her against him as he stood.

    Reply

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